Update on the latest in business:


Stocks shed early loss, rise as tech stocks gain ground

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shed an early loss and rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street as technology stocks reversed course and turned higher. The S&P 500 rose 0.4%. The index is coming off five straight losses and hasn’t had a winning day since the very first trading day of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq rose 1.2%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was relatively stable. Bond yields have risen sharply since the beginning of the year. Retailers also gained ground, while utilities and other stocks that are considered less risky fell.


Fed’s Powell: Inflation poses a major threat to job market

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has acknowledged that high inflation has emerged as a serious threat to the Fed’s goal of helping put more Americans back to work and that the Fed will raise rates more than it now plans if needed to stem surging prices. Powell said during a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday, “If we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will.” The committee is considering Powell’s nomination for a second four-year term. Fed officials have forecast three increases in the benchmark short-term rate this year, though some economists say they envision four rate hikes in 2022.


Outbreaks, bottlenecks expected to slow global growth in ’22

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank is downgrading its outlook for the global economy. It blames continuing outbreaks of COVID-19, a reduction in government economic support and ongoing bottlenecks in global supply chains. The 189-country, anti-poverty agency forecasts worldwide economic growth of 4.1% this year. That’s down from the 4.3% growth it was forecasting last June. It’s also down from the 5.5% expansion it estimates the global economy tallied in 2021. In its Global Economic Prospects report out Tuesday, the World Bank projects that the U.S. economy will grow 3.7% this year, down from 5.6% in 2021. It expects China, the world’s second-biggest economy, to see growth decelerate to 5.1% in 2022 from 8% last year.


World Economic Forum warns cyber risks add to climate threat

LONDON (AP) — The World Economic Forum says cyberthreats and the growing space race are emerging risks to the global economy, on top of existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. The Global Risks Report released Tuesday usually comes out ahead of the annual elite winter gathering of CEOs and world leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. But the event has been postponed for a second year in a row because of COVID-19. The report says cyberattacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread as criminals use tougher tactics to go after more vulnerable targets. It comes as the pandemic has forced many people to work or attend class virtually.


US announces $308 million in aid for Afghans as crisis grows

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has announced $308 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. The new aid comes as Afghanistan edges toward a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban takeover nearly five months ago. White House spokesperson Emily Horne says in a statement issued Tuesday the new aid from the U.S. Agency for International Development will flow through independent humanitarian organizations. The money will be used to provide shelter, health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services. Afghanistan’s long-troubled economy has been in a tailspin since the Taliban takeover. Nearly 80% of its previous government’s budget came from the international community.


Bank of America slashes fees for account overdrafts

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America is slashing the amount it charges customers when they spend more than they have in their accounts and plans to eliminate entirely its fees for bounced checks. It’s the latest move by the nation’s biggest banks to roll back the fees they long charged customers to overdraft their accounts, fees that would often rack up to hundreds of dollars a year for frequent overdraft users. The Charlotte-based bank will cut the fee it charges customers to overdraft to $10 from $35 starting in May. It will also stop charging fees for non-sufficient funds — which are levied when it rejects a transaction — better known as “bouncing a check.”


EPA moves to crack down on dangerous coal ash storage ponds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is taking its first major action to address toxic wastewater from coal-burning power plants, ordering utilities to stop dumping waste into unlined storage ponds and speed up plans to close leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash sites. The EPA says plants in four states will have to close the coal ash ponds months or years ahead of schedule. Coal ash is the substance that remains when coal is burned to generate electricity. It can pollute waterways, poison wildlife and cause respiratory illness among those living near massive ponds where the waste is stored. The action marks the first time the EPA has enforced a 2015 rule aimed at reducing groundwater pollution from coal-fired power plants.


2nd election for Amazon workers in Alabama will be by mail

UNDATED (AP) — A federal labor board said that Amazon workers in a facility in Bessemer, Alabama will vote by mail next month in a re-run election to decide whether or not to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board said that the ballots will be mailed out Feb. 4 and must be returned before the counting starts on March 28. The move comes roughly a month and a half after the board ordered a new union election for Amazon workers based on objection s by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to the first vote that took place in April.


Second Starbucks store near Buffalo votes to unionize

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A second Starbucks store near Buffalo, New York, has voted to unionize. It’s one of a growing number of the chain’s stores seeking to organize workers. Workers at the suburban Buffalo store voted 15-9 in favor of representation by Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed the vote Monday. Starbucks says it’s evaluating its options and may appeal. Last month, Starbucks workers voted to unionize workers at a store in downtown Buffalo, making that store one of the first to unionize in Starbucks’ 50-year history.


California lawmakers debate universal health care proposal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are set to debate whether to create the nation’s first universal health care system. A bill to establish the system and set its rules faces a state Assembly hearing on Tuesday. A separate bill that would lay out how to pay for the coverage will be heard by lawmakers at a later date. The first bill must pass the state Assembly by Jan. 31 to have a chance of approval this year. The bill to establish a payment method for the coverage would increase taxes on some wealthier people and larger businesses. Voters would have to approve the payment plan before it could become law.


Boeing airliner sales jump but deliveries lag rival Airbus

UNDATED (AP) — After a couple dismal years, Boeing is getting more orders and delivering more airline planes. The company said Tuesday that it delivered 38 commercial planes in December and 340 for all of 2021. That’s nearly double the deliveries it made in 2020. But Airbus says it made 611 deliveries in 2021, topping Boeing for a third straight year. Both companies are getting more orders, and their backlogs are so long that airlines usually wait several years go get all the planes they order.


Ford Maverick, Bronco win truck, utility of the year awards

DETROIT (AP) — For the second year in a row, vehicles from Ford Motor Co. took two of the three North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year awards. The company’s Maverick compact pickup won truck of the year, while its Bronco off-road SUV earned the utility of the year. Honda’s redesigned Civic compact car won the car of the year. Fifty automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada are judges for the awards, which are announced every January. They’re chosen from dozens of candidates and must be new or substantially changed for the current model year. Automakers often use the awards in advertising.


UK utility apologizes for advice to cuddle pets to stay warm

LONDON (AP) — One of Britain’s largest energy suppliers has apologized for advising customers to cuddle with pets or challenge children to hula hoop competitions to keep warm without turning up the heat as gas and electricity bills soar this winter. The Financial Times reported that the suggestions from Ovo Energy were in a list sent to customers of 10 ways to save on heating bills. The list triggered outrage from politicians and households whose incomes are being squeezed by rising energy prices. Labour Party lawmaker Darren Jones called Ovo’s tips “offensive.” Ovo says it’s working to find solutions to the energy crisis and realizes the list was “poorly judged and unhelpful.”

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